Dearmon column: Little Mount Vernon gone, but names on memorial preserved
KANNAPOLIS ó Not long after World War II began and the men from Kannapolis began to be drafted, some kind of recognition for their service was thought to be needed. The Beaver Pittman American Legion Post decided to sponsor a display in Town Park.
In April 1943, Cannon Mills Co. began constructing a replica of George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon in the center of the park. They hoped to have it ready for Memorial Day, but because there were so many men already in service, all the names could not be painted on the wall in time.
A dedication was planned for the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, the threat of rain caused the dedication to be moved to the auditorium of the YMCA. Some people still stood out at the memorial for the service, which could be heard over the loudspeakers.
For a name to be on the memorial, it was decided that those living within a one mile radius of the YMCA would be added, since Kannapolis was not incorporated at that time. The director of the Y, J. T. Fesperman, determined whose names were printed on the boards.
In the early 1970s, it was decided to replace the building with a sundial and porch-like building for use on other occasions. Unfortunately, the names were not saved as far as we could determine. Many people asked me if we had the names and of course I could only tell them, “No.”
Last summer, Sandra Sharp Cody, the daughter of Carl Sharp, who worked at the Y for many years, was clearing out some of the papers. She brought me a box containing some of his things. I found a pamphlet containing all of the more than 6,000 names, which were on the memorial in the sequence they appeared. Was I surprised and excited!
Larry Hayer scanned the names in, cleaned them up and made a printout. The War Mothers of WWII had maintained a scrapbook of men who died in service. They are:
William Thomas Albright; Charles Alexander; Grady Wilson Allen; Charles Edward Baker; Lathan J. Barnett; Thomas O. Barts; Walter M. Basinger; Ebert C. Beaver; Clifford L. Black; Herman Ray Boger; Carl Thomas Boggs; Ernest L. Bowden; Hansel Deal Bumgarner; Eldred Harden Burch; Charles A. Cannon; Hayden Belois Carter; Lester Franklin Cauble; Maynard Childers; Frank McDonald Cook; Charlie Boyden Cooke; Jay Lee Coone; Roy E. Crenshaw; James Derald Daniels; James D. Davis; Ralph C. Deason; Heath Lee Duncan; James Archie Easterling; Lonnie Marshall Efird; Clyde Walter Eidson; Kenneth James Foutz; Crawford Victor Freeze Jr.; Ralph Gaddy; Charlie R. Gardner; Wilbur Gold Gettys; Charles Frank Glass; Carl Suther Goodman; Rathel R. Goodman; Thomas Dexter Hallman; Lloyd Ervin Hampton; Thomas Hardin Harkey; James Lee Hawks; Earl H. Helms; Frank R. Helms; William C. Henry; Floyd Hill; Robert J. Hobbs; Ralph J. Hodgens; Rufus V. Hunsucker; Clarence E. Jolley; Ernest Wilson Jones; Monroe Joe Keziah; George Alvin Knight; Thomas M. Knight; Henry Craig Lackey; Harold McKnight Leazer; George Morgan Litaker; Ralph Ward Lomax; James McCall; Lee Douglas McCray; Benjamin Green McKnight; John C. McKnight; Hubert P. Miller; Homer E. Mills; Romulus F. Mull; Charles Junior Murray; John Wayne Murray; Vann B. Nash; Robert L. Nichols; James Boyd Norville; Ernest L. Outen; Luther R. Overcash; Harold Lloyd Patterson; Charles Harris Perkins; Clyde Pickrel; Arthur Lee Poston Jr.; Harry S. Rabb; Joseph Franklin Readling; Buford J. Roberts; Ellis J. Roberts; Joe Mitchell Rumsey; Lloyd B. Sheets; Lewis Sherrill Shinn; Myron Lee Shinn; Cleatus Lee Sims; Albert M. Sloop; James S. Smith; Reece Curtis Snelling; Boyd Starnes; Bruce Joe Stegall; David Rex Stevenson; Oscar G. Towell Jr.; Judge Young Trammell Jr.; Harry Maynard Troutman; David Odell Tutterow; Clyde R. Upright; Joshua William Warner; Fred David Werner; Paul E. Wheeler; Arthur Gilmore Whitten Jr.; Cletus Vic Whitten; Jeston Clifford Whittington; Miller Reid Wilson; Guy L. Wingler; James T. Yon.
Norris Dearmon is a local historian.